I thought that I’d post some of the reviews from my first book to end off on that chapter-even though it will be mentioned again throughout the blog.
Gary Hirson, the author of The Magic that’s Ours and guest reader Zac Abel at the launch of TMTO- Atlantic Sun Newspaper-June 2007
Reviewer: Wilhelmina Bozack,
Publication: A grade two teacher.
“Reading excerpts from the book is about the only thing that keeps my class of 35 children still. They are enthralled by the story, which gets their imagination working overtime. The extent of the children’s creativity during the fun time activities has been extremely rewarding to see. They tell stories, paint pictures and create games. Even the Xhosa speaking learners remember the story perfectly in English.”
Reviewer: Michelle Crawford
Publication: A clinical psychologist.
The Magic That’s Ours has been especially crafted to allow the child to escape the cage of conditioning created by overdoses of television, computers and the plethora of games spawned by technology. It gives children access to the vast pool of the unconscious in general and their imagination in particular.
“The Fun Time activities suggested in the book prompts the child to explore and journey into the reflective space within themselves. It also sows the seeds for children to tap into their imagination and explore visualization as a means of creating their reality and experiences through thought.
Reviewer: Anthony Blackhurst –Teacher at The Ridge School
Publication: The Independent Education Magazine
A book geared to help readers find ways to make their own magical worlds richer
I would rather hear that children are using computers creatively to do
school or design work, than be told they are playing canned games on a
keyboard; an activity almost as bad as parking off in front of TVs for hours.
If only most youngsters would design their own games through free, individual
and imaginative thought; creative works of art; learn to play musical
instruments; dance; write stories, act or make films; build things; learn to
sing beautifully; entertain themselves by sidestepping imaginatively around
sports fields; or even just lie on their backs to dream, relive wonderful times
and appreciate life’s opportunities. In short, I wish they would try to immerse
themselves in magic that is theirs, of their own making.
Gary Hirson’s book, The Magic that’s Ours, advocates just that. The
fun-time activities he recommends, which relate to the story content, are
geared to help the readers find ways to make their own magical worlds richer
through visualisation and wide-ranging thought experience. That is infinitely
preferable to them walking the pre-packaged paths of games (with cheats)
dictated by companies thriving on youngsters being influenced to mimic the
desire to passively watch or finger-button tap some limited adult creation.
The shadow-figure illustrations by Dorothee van den Oesten in this first
novel allow any reader to see him or herself in the story more easily, or
imagine the children to be as they would have them. That, in itself as an
engaging technique. Furthermore, while Hirson’s age-appropriate writing is
simple (paragraphs are occasionally like separate, but related, snapshots), the
words are descriptive and invite imaginative vision. So, just as the strange
events narrated invite the characters to explore what is on offer, so the
reader is drawn to consider engaging in interesting, varied activities and
choose their own destinations. The message is the only plain thing in the book,
and it is easy to add one’s own embellishments – use our talents to make our
own world a better place, not in material terms, but through the development of
the creative, expressive mind that will make every day different, colourful and
special, and produce a legacy of a full, unique, exciting actions. The book may
be used productively by a class teacher to entertain through reading and to
stimulate imaginative artistry. It would also promote wonderful dreamy thoughts,
if read after a beautiful sunset.
Reviewer: Tracy Bartlett
Publication: The Cape Times.
Cape Town based author Gary Hirson has written a children’s story about the magic of young imaginations and published it himself. To further encourage children to learn to entertain themselves without the aid of expensive gadgets and toys, there are imaginative ideas and activities t the end of each chapter which require little more than pens, paper and a lively mind. The Magic That’s Ours is a simple yet delightful tale beautifully illustrated by Dorothee van der Osten. The story will be enjoyed by children of all ages who are still open to suggestion and not yet physically attached to their games control
Reviewer: Abby Leigh Butler -Teacher in Metro Nashville, Tennessee Public Schools-USA
I wanted to let you know about a few of my lessons with The Magic that’s Ours in
the classroom. I taught 3 guided reading groups last week, where we had
15 minutes to read together. During that lesson, we only got to read
the first 3-4 pages, and only did the first Fun Time. I attached the
pictures for you to see the creativity. It was so fun for me to see how
each group approached the task. This is a class of ELL’s (English
Language Learners) with varying proficiency levels of English.
Today, I read the whole book to the class. They
really enjoyed it.